Not all computer deals are created equal. We’re often flooded with offers of “super savings” and “big, big, discounts” on computers and electronics. Here are the 4 things to know before scooping up a deal on your next computer:

Is this a new or refurbished device?

A refurbished device is a factory original that was returned at some point during the warranty period because of a defect. The defect is repaired and the device is re-sold at a discounted price. This might save you a few dollars, but make sure you do your research before making your purchase.

If it is a refurbished device, who refurbished it?

There’s a big difference between a factory refurbished device and one that has been refurbished by a third party. Factory refurbished computers use factory components and tools. They are repaired by factory-trained technicians. A third-party refurbishment might fix the defect but overlook areas such as durability of the repair and fit & finish.

What is the included warranty?

This is an important one. Computers sourced from grey-market (third-party refurbished) sellers often come with a limited 90-day warranty (or less). If the device malfunctions after that time, you will have to pay for the cost of repairs.

Factory refurbished items might come with the same warranty as a new device – be sure to clarify this with the salesperson. If they don’t know, check with an authorized reseller.

Most new, non-refurbished computers come with a 1-year warranty. In some cases, manufacturers might even offer extended warranties of up to 3-years. That peace of mind might be worth the extra cost versus a refurbished machine. Again, ask the questions and make an informed decision.

Are you an authorized retailer/reseller for this brand?

Buying from an authorized reseller means your computer has been sourced directly from the manufacturer or licensed distributor, rather than a grey-market seller. It’s also important to know if there is an on-island service centre in the event of a warranty claim. Having a service centre nearby will let you get your computer repaired or replaced quickly and easily, without having to send it off-island and potentially waiting for weeks.

The verdict?

A refurbished item could be a way to get a deal on a computer. On the other hand, a new item purchased from an authorized reseller might not cost that much more. When you consider the added peace of mind of a longer warranty and the convenience of on-island service, it could be the best all-around deal for you. If you do go the route of a refurbished device, make sure that you buy a factory refurbished unit from an authorized reseller.

Kirk Office is Cayman’s authorized reseller of HP and Lenovo computers. They are also an authorized service centre for those brands, meaning repairs and exchanges are handled quickly and efficiently.